If you have spent any amount of time in México, you will know that along with “cocinas económicas,” there is a roast chicken stand (“pollo rostizado”) on practically every corner of every town, large or small. And in every Mérida neighborhood, you can easily pick up a half or a quarter chicken (or several whole ones if you have a big group to feed) to take home or eat right there. Service is generally very fast as the chickens are roasting on the grill behind the counter, and accompaniments include rice, pickled onions, and salsas of varying spice and consistency. And while everybody has their favorite roast chicken spot, here are a few “pollerías” you might see around town that have become local – or at least neighborhood – institutions, as well as a more upscale option in one of the city’s most beloved restaurants.
“Brujo” is witch; the idea is that this chicken will bewitch you with its flavor! With over 22 locations in Mérida, it might well be the most ubiquitous of all the chicken places, instantly recognizable by its big smokestack and green and orange color scheme. The secret recipe of the chicken marinade has many fans and loyal followers; you’ll have to taste it to see why. The chicken is served with salad, corn tortillas, and medium-spicy red salsa. The restaurants are air conditioned, and you can enjoy your very economically priced chicken accompanied by a cold beer if you wish. Tip: try the tamarind pastry for dessert!
Home delivery and information: (999) 920 1980
Pollo El Pechugón (that means a big breasted chicken, by the way) is probably my favorite to-go chicken by far. They marinate their chicken in a secret blend of ingredients that makes it taste great. And get this: under the rotating roasting chickens is a bed of roasted baby potatoes, soaking up the savory chicken juices dripping down from all those pollos cooking above. This is the best part! So order your half or whole chicken and get a bag of those delectable tender juicy potatoes while you are at it. You won’t regret it! There is no place to eat in; located right beside one of Mérida’s busiest intersections, you will want to stop when you see all that goodness roasting next to you as you wait for the light to change. Good news is there is a parking lot at the corner, so you can easily pop out and buy some Pollo El Pechugón.
Ave. Cámara de Comercio #325 at Prolongación Paseo de Montejo
Col. Benito Juárez Norte
Every day 9 am – 6 pm
Pollo Feliz is a chicken chain from out of town and the one with the most varied menu, with items ranging from queso fundido (cheese fondue) to French fries. The Altabrisa location I visited features a drive thru window. This is a great spot for a casual, sit down chicken meal, which you can enjoy in air conditioned comfort. The ladies serving are extremely friendly, going as far as to open the door for me when I arrived. They are smiling and happy to serve you and the place is immaculate. The chicken recipe is delicious and popular in many parts of México.
Pollo Peruano a la Leña
The chicken here is a distinct reddish color, and the nice lady behind the counter informed me that the name (and that color) comes from the way they marinate their chicken, which makes it Peruvian style. In addition to all sorts of chicken combinations, here they also feature fried chicken wings and pork ribs, an addition which is gaining ground in many pollerías both in the city and the smaller towns. Look for the sign announcing “costillas” and you know you have found some grilled ribs along with that pollo. You can eat at one of the sidewalk tables or take your chicken to go.
Avenida Correa Rachó at Calle 7-A, Col. Gustavo Díaz Ordáz
Tel. (999) 290 8185
Every day 8 am – 6 pm
If you’re in the mood for a more upscale roast chicken experience, you cannot go wrong with the slow-roasted “Pollo Brasserie Estilo Parisino” (Parisian style brasserie chicken) at Trotter’s (the quarter chicken can be breast or leg). Pioneer in chic contemporary dining in Mérida since 2005, Trotter’s continues to please its loyal regulars and newcomers alike, with attentive service and polished surroundings. On a recent Saturday afternoon, I ordered the roast chicken leg, and it was falling off the bone, tender and juicy and perfectly flavored. Its accompaniment of grilled fresh vegetables was the ideal match. The lunch package (1 – 5 pm every day) of $195 pesos includes a bowl of delicious soup, a soft drink or beer, and dessert. Quantities are limited.
Circuito Colonias #134 x 34 y 36, Col. Buenavista
Tel. (999) 927 2320
Monday – Saturday 1 pm – 3 am
Sunday 1 pm – 6 pm
Editorial by Ralf Hollmann and Juanita Stein
Photography by Ralf Hollman and Juanita Stein for use in Yucatán Today
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